Looking at the stars…

Often in life, whenever we set a goal or we expect something to happen our focus is so much stuck on that thing or event. And we run a race. Well, running a race is not wrong but what matters more than winning the race is enjoying it and giving it all your best. When we enjoy doing something, we give it our fullest and we do not worry about anything. So it is a vicious circle 🙂

But every day, we do a lot of things.Some of it we like and some of it we don’t. Because we are doing something we don’t like – it doesn’t give us any right to do it half baked. We are trusted with it or we are doing it by our own choice and no one forces us into it. We are into it because some day or some time we made a decision to be into it. So it is kind of our responsibility to do it to the fullest 🙂 Well, think of everything as your child. However naughty or cranky your kid is, as a parent you have to give them your best. Think of it as the same responsibility.

When you are in a boat in the middle of a ocean in a night, the wise thing to do is enjoy the stars and the moon instead of always looking out for a light house. And, the light house may be gone anytime but the stars and moon won’t. That is the difference between man made and nature.

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I am not running a race, I am just living my life….

The morning started off with a usual discussion with my wife on what we have to do start at least 10 minutes earlier than the usual time. We discussed and discussed and discussed….at the end I found myself circling around just one thing. I felt that I have been hooked into an endless loop. I have so much to do and I don’t get time to do them all. Often our day gets extended till mid-night or even more than that. I felt like we are running endlessly with no goal in mind.

The most immediate of my TODO list is to,

  • Learn a new programming language
  • Workout
  • Finish reading a good book that I started
  • Become a better photographer
  • Help my wife in her day to day chores
  • Use the legomind NXT which I brought few months ago to build a bot
  • Finish a certification exam and the list goes on.

Added to this is comes my more than 8 hours work plus errands.

Phew! so much to do in 24 hours time. And, I never ended up anywhere. I did not even finish one thing in it up to my satisfaction apart from my job(work that occupies most of the time)….

Prioritize is what a management whiz would say, prioritize what? I would like to answer that the above list is after prioritization. Most of these are not one time tasks but they are continuous tasks that span for a life time – which means I have to do all of it few hours each day…near to impossible…How do I split my time? Everyone knows that context switching in terms of brain is the most costliest process.

I just decided to throw away the list and slow down a bit. I decided I will do only two things at a time. If the opportunity presents itself to do more things in the list I will do it otherwise I won’t even think of it. I don’t mind what I lose. I just mind what I gain. Sometimes when you are in vehicle that goes at a speed of 120 km/h all you see is  things around you go past you in a wink of the eye, but when you slow down you get an opportunity to enjoy what is around you.

I read a note on yoga somewhere that – yoga is all about being and not doing. When it comes to life I would like to say – Life is all about living and not running a race. So, I am not in a race, I am just living my life.

Enlightened management #1

I heard this real incident from my best buddy…

Today morning, his manager called him up to warn for being late to work. The reasons his manager gave were,

  • The usual working hours were from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM.
  • He(the manager himself) comes late as he has to drop his children at school and as my friend has nothing to do he has to be on time(may be over time).
  • His late coming is righteous as he also works from home. And, the whole organization knows it and hence he had every right to come late whereas my friend did not.
  • When my friend pointed that he is the last person to leave the office, the manager simply replied “We do not know what is happening after we leave”.

Now about my friend who is working there,

  • He is a software engineer too.
  • He does go late by an hour or two so for past one week.
  • He is very sincere and hard working. I have personally seen him working long. hours in the night and most of the times is the last person to leave the office.
  • He goes for lunch just 15 minutes while others take close to an hour.
  • Sometimes he works over the weekend.
  • He does not have remote access or Work from Home(WFH) options as he is a contract staff.
  • There has been no delay in the deliverable’s nor any major issues out of this friend of mine.

To all the managers out there I just want to cry out loud that “The number of hours a person spends in his seat or infront of his computer at office is not proportional to the effectiveness at work.”

Software engineers are not doing physical labour to work for stipulated hours and leave home. We do mental work. Being a software engineer, I have had a bad day at work and a extremly good day at work. By good days and bad days I mean productive days and unproductive days. Some are better workers on the morning while others at the night. I strongly believe one productive man day is proportional to two or three normal(or unproductive) man days. So where does fixed timing of work comes into picture? This is why companies like Google, Facebook etc are successful – to be creative, innovative and effective the best hours of a (good)software engineer has to go into work along with his/her passion(and Intrinsic motivation) rather than just time(in terms of hours).

So be an enlightened manager and facilitate a better working environment by measuring productivity in terms of real metrics like deliverables, defect density, success rate of a project/product and other real factors instead of lame factors like coming soon or going early etc.

Last but not the least – software engineers are also humans. We do get up late on some days..we do have bad day at home..we do face traffic filled roads..we do get sick at times..we do have friends and family..we do have misunderstandings with our loved ones..software engineering is just our profession and a part of our life – definetly not our life itself. We are not just “resources” we are “resources that have a heart and mind”.

Beyond PMP, PMBOK or ITPM there is always a bit of common sense that goes into management…

Revolution 2020 through my eyes…

Revolution_2020

Cover of Revolution 2020

Revolution 2020 –  not that revolutionary. The book revolves around three childhood friends(two guys and one girl). Well, as you might have a guessed when there is a girl involved it is a love story. The three characters are Gopal, Aarthi and Raghav. The book is about the flow of love from Gopal to Aarthi, from Aarthi to Raghav and back from Aarthi to Gopal, from Aarthi to Raghav again. The book also shifts paradigms from Gopal – who taps his opportunity to become a rich man with a help of a typical Indian politician and Raghav – who studies engineering in a famous college and becomes a journalist.

Gopal, Aarthi and Raghav are class mates from school. Gopal is not too studious, hails from a poor family, loses his mother at an young age and can’t make it to college, but succeeds to become Aarthi’s best buddy. He falls in love Aarthi since very young age but she keeps denying it. Raghav is studious, succeeds in getting a seat in a well reputed engineering college and wants to become a journalist. Aarthi and Raghav start loving each other during Gopal’s hard attempt to gain a engineering seat by attending coaching classes(at kota) away from varanasi(where these three belong to). So in simple terms, Gopal is a loser and Raghav is the winner for the first half. During the second half, Gopal becomes a winner and Raghav becomes a loser. Finally, Gopal becomes a loser in his love life, and makes Raghav a winner in both his love and professional life.

While I am still confused as what Chetan Bhagat wanted to say via this book, I was able to see he has touched upon his usual writing areas(love, bit of sex, a highly studious guy and a beautiful heart throbbing girl etc..) and additionally, he has also touched politics and journalism.

The main thing which could have been better in the book is – characterization. I could not see a strong characterization in Gopal or Raghav nor Aarthi. But Gopal’s characterization was certainly better. It felt like watching a tamil movie. The usual style of Chetan’s writing was missing. The humor component was absent.

The book has few loop holes which again attributes to bad characterization such as why Raghav(being a honest and a strong journalist) should join the same party as the unscruplous MLA who helped Gopal, why did Aarthi start loving Gopal back when initially she was too firm that she did not love him and why the hell would Gopal lose upon Aarthi despite his hard win(and immense love for her). From a writer like Chetan, I expect a strong reinforcement of truth which is present and an initiative to change the bad which is absent, rather than just pointing fingers at them.

Some good take aways and my personal opinions – Love when you are in the age to love, till then concentrate on studies and being a better individual. Fight the right war with the right weapon. For a country like India, if a change or revolution has to happen it has be very rapid like fire, very pervasive as air, as unified as a flame and as uniform as water. Anything even slightly lesser than this will fail. You as an individual can only support or be a part of the revolution only when you are a better human in terms of love, growth(personal and professional) and education. We can’t afford to make another mistake. We can’t afford to remain calm. We can’t afford to accept anothe lie thrown on us. We can’t afford not to reason out what the government does. We can’t afford to deserve any less than what we deserve. Let the revolution began but not certainly in the way of revolution 2020 😀

Another review on the same book by Aruna

Disclaimer : These are our own personal views on the book. As these days anything and everything kindles an argument and discussion, just wanted to make it clear that I am not against anyone or anything in the book. I am just a reader of the book 🙂

First love is unforgettable….

I met her close to 7 years back. We just met once but I knew she was around me all the time for the next 4 years, but I just ignored her. One fine day, I found that I developed a great interest on her. But I am not sure whether she felt the same way. Honestly speaking, she did not have any other go other than to be with me for the next one and half years. It was like life forced us to be together. We never had a choice.

But I enjoyed her company. I was spending almost all of my day with her, except for the time I spent sleeping and grooming myself(food, shower, TV, and other stuff included). Without much of my realization she just transformed to be an integral part of my life. She was a bit old fashioned, but she always stood out of the crowd elegantly and simply beautiful. Even though she was old fashioned she was very beautiful for my eyes. She was a bit slow but I knew she would be always there for me when I needed her and even when I did not need her. She used to stay late in the night to complete the task I had given her, task is what I would say but a favor is what she would call it.
I used to rub  her face and eyes smoothly very often, she liked it. She used to enjoy it like a heavenly bliss. I used to touch her very softly like a flower. One day her tooth fell off and the reason was my reaction out of anger, she was in pain and vain. It was that day I realized how much I loved her. I could feel myself immobilized and stuck with her pain. I felt guilty; I felt I am all alone. But later we went to the doctor and her tooth was fixed. In Singapore, medical expenses and fee for doctors are quite high. But call it her luck, the doctor fixed her tooth at ease for free. I was astonished and thought I was lucky to have her in my life. I decided never to be angry with her.
She was one of those kinds who is often out of energy and stamina. So she needed food at very regular intervals. She was so weak that she would sleep off if she was not fed a light meal at an average interval of an hour. But yet, you would have imagined her to be fat and ugly. You lose there, she somehow had a metabolism that let her dissipate all of the energy she has consumed in the form of food yet look lean and maintain the same flat figure. I used to be jealous of her. She has a limited memory and often complains to me about her bad memory, but I was used to it. These things made me realize something was wrong with her. Something was really long.

Slowly, her health started worsening. I knew she had an issue, but none of the learned medics could help her. She was to be left alone and part from me so she has to at least breathe and live. She needed a low profile life; she was even unable to do her day to day stuff. She came to stage where she could only work for 4 hours in a week. She decided to move off from me, or rather I decided to move off from her to make her live. I felt I will be happy to keep her alive rather than see her dying. The doctors advised she has to be away from me to be alive. We were torn apart by force. But I know I can visit her once in a while, see her alive and living in charm. That made me happy and contended.

Today, I have a new girlfriend. She is very beautiful; all my buddies envy me for having her. She is very modern compared to my ex. She is very fast and efficient in her actions that my ex. She is more colorful and bright looking than my ex. She is better in all ways than my ex. I remain the same for my ex-girlfriend and my present girlfriend. But all this said and done, I still miss my ex-girlfriend. Her memories hit my head like thunder during my travel to work this morning. I miss her! Like people say, you can never forget your first love in life, never and ever.

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References:

My ex-girlfriend:
Acer Travelmate, Intel Celeron, 2 GB SD RAM(reason for slow actions), 40 GB HDD(less memory), Minimal graphics card, Sleek and slender(flat structure), Golden outer and black inner color, soft keyboard(tooth), 14″ monitor(face), Battery life on last usage : 45 minutes

My present girlfriend:
Acer aspire X, i7 Processor, 2.8 Ghz boost upto 2.9 Ghz, 8 GB RAM, 750 GB HDD, 2 GB graphics card, slender black

I just hope my fiancé forgives me for the first affair that happened in my life and the second ongoing affair as well 😉

If I am getting beaten up or I am deliberately made to starve for this post (by my fiancé), request the readers of this post please send me some welfare fund 🙂

Some FAQs on Masters of Computing at NUS

Well, I am getting quite a lot of feedback and emails asking about the job prospects and course details over at NUS after my earlier blog. I thought this blog post would answer few of those questions.

Firstly, what are the job prospects? will I get a job over there once I finish the course? To me, the question is purely subjective. It depends on your experience, exposure, the technology you have worked on, the adapatability, the market stability and so on. Instead of answering it straight, I would give some pointers which would server as an decision making factor. Well certainly, if you are from India the exposure level you get at NUS and in Singapore is quite very high. If you are person who can tap these opportunities and a go getter then Singapore is certainly the place. Singapore is full of start-ups, so its certain that you will come across one of these start-ups when you hunt down for a job. Singapore is known for its research capabilities and you can expect some opportunities here as well. The cost of living is quite high, and your are allowed to work only 16 hours a week if you are full time student. So its advisable to secure a part time job(may not be neccasarily a software/programming job) quickly and keep looking out for opportunities. Expect less sleep, more work load and its a different paradigm of life 🙂 As far as the job competition the level is same as in India. So work on making your profile different and equip yourself with niche skillets.

Secondly, the fee and the loan stuff – Will I be able to repay the loan? What if I don’t get a job? what happens to the SO(Service Obligation)? It is quite easy to get a tuition feel loan(TFL) from DBS bank. Some of my friends did take loan from banks in India as well. I am not sure which one is better, but I always felt taking a loan here is better because I don’t have transfer money back and forth. And, I was sure of staying here for some time so its better to take a loan here. What happens if you don’t get a job? what happens to the SO? These are some outstanding questions even I have. I am not sure on it, may be it should be asked to some of my seniors or people who passed out during the recession times. But I have heard different people giving different answers for this, but I believe none of them are officially from a authoritative source. Hence I decline in believeing them. For now, lets be positive and hope you get a job during or as soon as you finish your course.

Thirdly, what happens to the student pass once I complete the course and I haven’t got a job? well, the student pass valid only till its validity period. Assuming(in everyones wildest dreams) you don’t get a job till the student pass expires, you will be given a social visit pass using which you can hunt jobs. Its purely valid for job hunting because you have studied in here. But the cases of this occuring is very very rare. Most of them I have seen in my batch and in previous batch have settled in a job quite ahead of student pass expiry or very much after the course.

Finally, the million dollar question – will I get a Project Management or Business Analyst job or management job if I do ITPM or any other management based or sandwiched course? Again the answer is uncertain. But usually, PRs and Citizens are more preffered for these kind of management positions than us(as long as your not an MBA or a full fledged business degree holder). Most of them who did project management or some sandwiched management course land up in a technical role. But there are few who landed up in management job as well.

I know these are not the only questions you have in mind, but these are the most frequently asked questions that I got in my comments. So I have tried my level best to answer it. If you have any different question, just drop in a comment. I will update the blog with my answer for it.

What matters to us need not matter to others..

We all know that humans come from different backgrounds and environments, and none of them are the same in God’s blue print. Everyone is different in terms of feelings, behaviors and emotions.

In a relationship, whether it is mother or father or sister or brother or wife or even your manager – it does not always mean that, what matters to you also matters to the people related. Some time it does, and some time it does not. And, an huge shock is when you realize it does not matter to the people whom you have been living for so many years 🙂

This makes the people in relation think their relationship is in vain, they question their basic understanding of each other. They think the absence of this understanding as absence of love, they ponder themselves on why the same person reacted or emoted or behaved in the way they liked some time back and not now. It happens even the otherwise, some even tend to think why the person behaved against them in the past and for them now. This cycle repeats. The more the dips or mismatches in negative scale, the more the relationship fails. There are more marriages failing, more relationships worn out and more relationships killed in vain.

Now what do we do to avoid this, the solution is two-fold,

  • Submission
  • Understanding

I could have added fighting as well, but I think we are talking about constructive conflict handling rather than destructive conflict handling. Hence, I am not adding it and I also request it is better to avoid it most of the times(only in relationships)

You have to start these solutions by basically assuming and understanding that – all humans are by nature good and understanding.

Submission – just submit yourself, people feel this as giving up. Ego hurts, you feel defeated and helpless. But, submission is just for the moment. Just negate ego out of the equation, after which you will see you will get humpty opportunities later on to prove to the other person(or people) involved, that what you did was the best you could do at that time. And, you don’t even know you may also feel you could have done something better than what you did. If it is the earlier case, you have a lot of opportunities to let people understand about you. In the later case, you understand more about yourself and grow. Submission is best way if people or person whom your handling is relatively more dominating that you or more stubborn than you.

Understanding – talk it! talk it! until you get bored to death about it. Another way is to talk and express yourself on why you did it that way and why not the other way. A zillion problems in the world gets solved if you speak and express your feelings. This is the simplest thing to do, again negate ego out of this equation. This solution is best suited if the person or people involved are patient and can listen to what you say.

When it comes to a group, different people behave in different ways. The best is to divide and conquer. Handle group of alike people seperately or even better just handle them seperately in whichever possible ways.

Well as we discussed above, when it comes to relationships and understanding EGO is to be negated. While I say ego is to be avoided, that does not mean self-respect or self-esteem or self-confidence has to be compromised. Usually, ego goes hand in hand with these attributes.

If you have any such difficult situations or scenarios to handle comment the post 🙂 let us see what best we can do about it.